Rahul and Sonia Gandhi get zilch; Rajnath, Modi favoured

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi get zilch; Rajnath, Modi favoured

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi get zilch; Rajnath, Modi favoured

The NDA government seemed to have enforced its dominance over the Congress in its Budget presentation on Thursday, with Central projects moving away from the constituencies of the Gandhis and into that of Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley put his constituency of Amritsar on the list of beneficiary districts, while not announcing even a single development scheme for Raebareli and Amethi, the respective seats of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.

The “National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana” is to benefit Amritsar through the conservation of heritage centres across six identified cities.

During his speech in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley announced a “Trade Facilitation Centre” and a “Crafts Museum” for Modi’s Varanasi constituency. To back these projects, the minister proposed a Rs 50-crore outlay to promote the holy city’s rich tradition of weaving through its handloom products.

Jaitley also included Lucknow, represented by Rajnath Singh, in a proposition for a textile mega-cluster across seven cities in Uttar Pradesh.

The home minister’s constituency also got a Rs 100-crore metro construction project. Huge investments are expected be put into rejuvenating the Ganga river, which passes through Varanasi, to enable the construction of a national waterway.

The ghats in Varanasi will also get a makeover. One of the country’s three AIIMS has been allocated to eastern Uttar Pradesh, which envelops the holy city.

The prime minister’s pet project – the bronze and iron effigy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat, which is expected to become the world’s largest statue, was allocated a whopping Rs 200 crore.

Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, however, was not as giving to Varanasi during the Rail Budget. Gowda announced only one express train for the constituency.

Interestingly, like the twin constituencies of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, no new scheme was given to Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj represents.

Congress’s former glory

In the last decade that the UPA enjoyed power, various ministries under former prime minister Manmohan Singh almost competed with each other to shower schemes on Raebareli and Amethi to please the Congress first family.

About 21 big-ticket projects had been given to these constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, which are the only two out of the state’s 80 seats the Congress managed to retain in this year’s general elections.

A wheel and coach manufacturing unit, an aviation university, National Institute of Fashion and Technology, a hotel management institute, a paper mill, food processing units and a CRPF group centre were among the projects Raebareli and Amethi had been given.

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